Moneyball: 7 Lessons for Life and Personal Finance

Brent Pittman —  02/21/2012

“How can you not be romantic about baseball?”-Billy Beane

I’ve just watched Moneyball for the second time in two days. AMAZING MOVIE and nominated for 6 Oscars.

There aren’t many movies fit for discussing on a personal finance blog, but Moneyball’s lessons about money and life are game changers, no pun intended.

Moneyball Movie Trailer

Moneyball: 7 Lessons for Life and Personal Finance

1) Don’t make decisions based solely on money- Don’t give up on your dreams, ethics, and passion just for a few bucks.

2) See how the game [Life] truly is- Billy Beane and Peter Brand (real name Paul Depodesta) saw baseball differently than the establishment, but they saw it more accurately and clearly.

3) There is greater purpose than just winning. Playing to change lives and create justice for others is more important than winning. You can change how the game is played and end up a winner.

4) Live within your means– The small Oakland A’s couldn’t compete with the larger ball club’s budgets. We also have to live within our budgets and create W’s each time we go onto the field.

“We’re going to work within the constraints that we have.”-Owner of the A’s

5) When you face opposition and criticism, you might just be doing something right. Billy Beane went against a century’s worth of baseball tradition in evaluating players.

“Baseball thinking is medieval. They are asking all the wrong questions.”-Peter Brand

6) When you are in the daily grind and working hard, it sometimes takes others to help us look up and notice you are hitting home runs.

7) Your problems are relatively small compared to most in the world.

“I’ve got up-town problems, which are not problems at all.”- Billy Beane

Moneyball the Backstory

 The backstory on this movie is incredible in itself. The movie is based off a best selling book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. His book, which is now on my reading list, looks in to the history & math or Sabermetrics along with the story of the Oakland A’s as depicted in Moneyball the movie.

Bill James is one such pioneer that began all this sabermetrics frenzy, which turned baseball on its head. He published a series of books in late 70’s and 80’s Baseball Abstracts that ranked the 100 best players in each position.

He even ended up on that Red Sox team that help break the Bambino’s Curse and was at the premier of Moneyball. I’m sure we’ll see a movie about Bill James in the near future.

Have you seen Moneyball? What lessons did you learn? 

Photo credit Werner Kunz

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Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
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  • I love your heart behind all this. Telling stories that help people live their story better. Particularly in the area of finance. Have you tried fronuts?

    • Thanks!

      I’m always up for a new donut place!

      Brent Pittman
      Financial Coach and Blogger
      C 424-298-0676
      T @ontargetcoach

  • elbiddulph

    “We got to think differently.” – Billy Beane

    Step one in doing differently is thinking differently. 

    Loved this movie – we saw it when it first came out.  I could use a second go round!  Thanks for the reminders – and the lessons.

    • It was a good study in human behavior. Possibly a 5 baseball movie?

  • Or work smarter with what you have. It’s crazy to think that the order you place 9 guys to hit can determine a win or a loss. 

  • i loved money ball,  for the idea that you can value one aspect of something or you can value the entirety of something and get different statistics….

    • Yes, many lessons to glean from this one. Think it will win any Oscars? 

  • Good to see that you did end up reviewing Moneyball on your blog.  I really enjoyed this movie too.  When you think about it, there are plenty of lessons to take from this movie, both related to life in general and personal finances.  Will you be reviewing more movies on here in the future Brent?  I haven’t really decided how frequently I’d be doing that on my own blog.

    • Not that often I think. It’s made me think about how to apply Moneyball principals to blogging. Hmm…

  • Fun fact: Peter Brand is actually only partly based on Paul DePodesta. It doesn’t affect the enjoyment of this movie in any way, but I believe it’s different in the book.

    Hmm, this makes me wonder if it’s possible to take a more “Moneyball” approach to my finances. Perhaps I can get more utility out of my apartment somehow!

    • Thanks for the fun fact! Yeah the book is on my reading list for 2012 now! Hmm…Moneyball your finances. Sounds like a good article title.